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Looking back and Looking On: 2016 reflections and 2017 dreams

The blog has been quiet these days, but we've been busy behind the scenes.  At times, it feels like I get nothing done but keeping the kids alive and us semi-fed with healthy food, but we have been steadily plodding forward.  Here's where we've been. The Year of Simplify: 2016This past year really had me getting serious about taking stock of my life-how I spent my time, what was important to me, what I actually wanted to see and bring into my house.  I was getting pretty exhausted from working my 5th (yikes!) year on night-shift, raising two small children (with a third on the way!), and having "to-do" or "should-do" lists as long as my arm.  My home felt cluttered and overwhelmed as we were in-between two places for the past few years.  The extra space between two locations hadn't reaffirmed the "stuff purge" as I felt like I always had more space.  All in all, was juggling too much; I felt overcommitted--with work, with hobbies, with to-d…
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Where have we been?!?!?!

Yes, blogging land, it has been a while.There's been a lot of transition for us in our little homestead, and nearly a year ago, we returned to the suburban life for the current time.Have we given up on our dreams of wide open spaces and green acres?  Certainly not.Is homesteading still something we love or would love to do? Definitely.Here's the thing. Homesteading is what you make and how you define it.  If you expect me to be a purist, you are far from mistaken about me.  My life is far from purist.  Bits and pieces of life are combined into a recipe that is of my own making and best suited to my own life priorities and goals. Do things sometimes get a bit mis-mashed and messy?  Yes.  But it is always worth re-tweaking and making something unique, beautiful, delicious.It's all in your priorities and goals.
 For me, having a manageable sized garden and quantity of produce is high.  Along with short commutes. And less stress.  And possible early retirement.  And extra time …

Taming the Consumerism Beast: My Minimalist Christmas

As we enter the holiday season, I have consciously been trying to be more mindful of the choices that I'm making and the example I'm setting.  Unfortunately, the holiday season has become part and parcel with excess--excess food, excess buying, excess debt, excess stress.
I want to do better.
The past year or two, I've been gradually shifting towards simplification and minimizing my life.  My schedule has been too busy, my home too cluttered, and my life just too stressed. And if we're honest, the holidays are no exception. We are consumer-minded, we don't budget for generosity, and we are wildly selfish, but carefully disguise this as generosity to our already well-provided for families, friends, and children (global perspective, people). 
I want to teach my children better.  And the only way I can accomplish this is to lead by example.
I want my children to learn that Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, not over-indulgence. 
I want my kids to remember that Chr…

Homesteading Heartaches

*Sigh*At times, homesteading is ridiculously rewarding...like making a fritatta from your own eggs, bacon, chevre, and greens.Home-raised dinner: win.At others, it is ridiculously heartbreaking....like when you realize you have to get rid of ALL your goats.Let me explain...
Recently, we had the opportunity to buy our little homestead a more permanent home (more on that later) where we can dig in some roots, live 100% debt free and get some real financial traction.  This little homestead would allow us to provide for basically all of our own food needs, if we work hard and are good stewards.As with any move, decisions have to be made on what goes and what gets the heave-ho.Given their infrastructure concerns, our animals are prime consideration....Chickens? Easy to move....and we depend on our daily eggs. Check.Pigs....they are giant and ready to be processed any day, regardless.  They will be making the move as bacon.Goats......  .......  .......And therein lies the giant question.  We…

Goals for 2015: Finishing what we started

It's been a busy 12 months, y'all!  (read more about that here.)
However, in 2015, we have decided to be more intentional about slowing down and allowing for extra time to accomplish goals.  Basically, it comes down to finishing what we already have started and paring down life--intentionally not starting anything new, new.

Additionally, in order to appropriately prioritize, I've backed up a bit and have mentally made "tiers" of to-do--must's, should's, and would-be-nice's (wbn's....how'd ya like my new acronym?).  This should help us stay focused on what is truly important, and if something needs to get cut, it's easy to give it the ol' heave-ho. MUST: Get our city house remodeled and fully rented or sold (whichever the market seems to dictate). THEN we will finally start knocking away those student loans faster!   We hoped to have all my student loans paid off by 2017 (3-4 years ahead of schedule!), but we'll reassess how we land…

Year in Review: Taking stock of 2014

As I look over my goals for last year, I realize that as usual we were biting off more than we could

chew.  But that's ok.  Aim high, right?

Let's review....  Adding to the family: CHECK!  Not like we had much of a choice on that one.  ;)  The new baby man is super cute.  I think we'll keep him. Buy trailer and move to country: CHECK! Plus as a bonus, we got a lot of remodeling done on it first so I have a nice place to call "home" and will have plenty of time to enjoy before we consider moving out of it.  I think the pregnancy nesting hormones were running super high at the time.  So much work, but SOOOO worth it!  I love my little house! (I'll try to get a "tour" up on the blog sometime soon--our fireplace is going in here in the next month, so I'm waiting for that. :) )Convert budgeted mortgage monies on city rental into faster student loan repayment: Not quite yet.  That's a HIGH priority for this year.  It MUST happen! No soda x 6 month…

Reflections on 2014: Grace

Here we were at the close of one year and the start of another and I felt it was a fitting time to revisit the poor, old neglected blog and see what my brain was thinking a year ago.I came merrily along, subconciously feeling like I had accomplished a lot of what I set out to do....then I reread my entry on lessons learned a year ago and suddenly I didn't feel so accomplished.  In a lot of ways, I feel like I could just hit copy, paste, and republish for this year.  I felt like I needed a massive do-over on all the life lessons I thought I had already learned."Did I really learn anything?" I asked myself.  "I don't feel like I made much progress."And then I paused...yes.A year ago today, life looked status quo and stable. Plans were laid, ambition was high, and everything seemed like it would work out without a hitch.Then life throws you a curve ball--we said goodbye to my dad in a turn of events that none of us really saw coming.Yes, after his diagnosis of…